|This Graphic Is Also Painful|
In the past week, Oakland A's GM Billy Beane has, seemingly, torn apart the core of a playoff club that was, well, the best team in baseball for the first half of 2014. He's shipped away both corners of one of the rare teams that has actual power, failed to sign the ace SP that everyone knew was a rental but still, then moved off the mid-rotation guy, too. The team looks like a 75-win reclamation project now, and every A's fan is feeling the age-old kick in the glands that is the lot in life of the MLB- market. This year's Donaldson is just the latest in a long line of love 'em and lose 'em, and the only cold comfort is that Beane's earned the right, through nearly two decades of winning with a short stack.
In the same time frame, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro sent away the best shortstop in franchise history, and a borderline Hall of Fame candidate, to Los Angeles. Jimmy Rollins will fill out a few more lines on his plaque in a weird-looking uniform, flashing his still plus arm and frustrating people with pop ups. Phillie Fan got to watch Rollins for as long as they pretty much could stomach it, knowing that he was overpaid, not getting any better, and made about as much sense on this listing ship as fine china at a toddler party. But on the other hand, they got to see the best shortstop in franchise history, amassing the most hits ever, and will appreciate him so much more when he's gone.
I'm not sure which fandom has it better, really. The A's are much more competitive more often, and I don't go into any year without hope. But I also spend every off-season graduating players like I'm a high school guidance counselor, then watch them go to the playoffs with MLB+ clubs, and know that their Cooperstown plaque isn't going to have my cap at the top.
Oh, and to the fan bases that develop talent and sign it, like Boston and the Yankees and St. Louis? You can go pound sand. Honestly. The rest of us have to go through something the rest of you never have to deal with. And yes, life's not fair and yada yada yada, but still. Sand. Pound it.